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Courtesy: Zolton Cohen

Maria McDaniel Will Represent WMU at NCAA Championships

Courtesy: Sean Daniels, WMU Media Relations
Release: 11/20/2015
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Western Michigan sophomore cross country runner Maria McDaniel is set to compete in the NCAA Championships as an individual qualifier for the second straight season. The women are slated to run at noon on Saturday, Nov. 21 at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kent. where the meet is being hosted by the University of Louisville.

“I am ecstatic to qualify for the cross country nationals again this year!” McDaniel said. “Last year’s national race was a great experience and I can use the lessons I learned to do my best on Saturday.”

At last year’s meet in Terre Haute, Ind., McDaniel finished 54th overall out of 253 runners with a time of 20:55.3. She was 11 seconds away from earning All-American status with a top-40 time. It was the first time since 1986 that the WMU women’s cross country team was represented at the Championships.

“It’s what you shoot for every year and you want to be represented in all three sports (cross country, indoor/outdoor track & field),” Head coach Kelly Lycan said. “Coach (Rebekah Smeltzer) has done a great job guiding Maria in her second year, which is where you usually hear about the sophomore slumps but we haven’t had any of that.”

McDaniel has had a masterful sophomore season for the Broncos leading the team in all six races she has competed with WMU. (Competed in one race unattached). She has five top-three finishes this season including wins at the George Dales Invitational, the Notre Dame Invite and the Michigan Intercollegiates. She placed second at the EMU Celebration and took third at the MAC Championships, becoming the first member of WMU to garner two First Team All-MAC since 1993. She finished eighth overall at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships to earn this trip to the NCAA Championships where she is looking to build off of last season.

“I want to cross the finish line knowing that I had absolutely nothing left,” McDaniel said. “It will take a smart start and a whole lot of heart to keep pushing hard to the end. I need to trust my training and focus on being strong.”

Follow @WesternMichTFXC on Twitter for updates about McDaniel’s performance on Saturday.

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